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Records may soon go digital
Microsoft taps Dawson for pilot
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Dawson County is one of two counties in the state selected to pilot a new digital records management system for Microsoft.



The free program will allow Dawson County to digitally manage county records, beginning with those of the tax commissioner and planning department, and eventually integrate all county records into one centralized program.



Dawson and Chatham counties were picked to participate in the pilot program designed by Microsoft after Hurricane Katrina devastated courthouses in the gulf coast region and destroyed county records with no backup systems.



“Our records would be stored electronically off site at a military base in West Virginia at a very secure location,” said Dawson County Manager Kevin Tanner.



Andy Pitman, Microsoft's electronic government industry manager, who is in charge of the project, is a Georgia resident.  The project is expected to start by year’s end. 



Microsoft has hired an integrated records management company to assist with the integrating of the initial program for the county and has partnered with Fuji, which will provide scanners and other digital imaging systems for the project.



“Essentially, what will happen is all of our records will be easily accessible from one location, which is a benefit not only to our staff, but to the community,” Tanner said. “They’ll be able to go to one place and look up all the county’s information on properties, for example.”



Mike Berg, chairman of the Dawson County Board of Commissioners, learned of the pilot program through his executive involvement with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and expressed an interest in the program for Dawson County.



“This comes as a direct result of the county’s involvement and contacts at the state level because of the benefits it affords,” Berg said. “The county’s benefiting by over $67,000 in work and equipment in this program, and it will further our ability to give citizens and those in government an easy way to look at records.”



Ross King, ACCG deputy director, said Microsoft’s choosing Dawson to pilot the program is testament to county leadership.



“When our organization was afforded the unique opportunity to work on this important case study project we were asked by Microsoft to identify an urban county and suburban county for program participation,” said King.



“Both counties have excellent local elected and appointed leadership. That characteristic was important to ensure the success of this project. In Dawson County, the leadership exemplified by Chairman Mike Berg and the Dawson County Board of Commissioners, as well as Kevin Tanner the county manager, was the deciding factor in their selection for project participation,” King said.



In exchange for utilizing the program, Dawson County will provide feedback to Microsoft, which plans to promote the program to government entities across the country.



“We’ll give them feedback and if it’s successful, we’ll give them good recommendations to other counties across the state and country,” Tanner said.



“We’re real excited about the program.”



E-mail Michele Hester at